Draft Tracker: May 5
Here are some scouting reports and updates on players we've been hearing about while making calls in preparation for our Draft Preview issue. . .
DeMarcus Tidwell, of, Yavapai (Ariz.) JC
Tidwell is a talented athlete that was also highly-recruited by SEC schools to play wide receiver when he was at Grenada (Miss.) High in 2008. Tidwell decided to instead focus on baseball, and the decision looks like it will soon pay off. Tidwell spent his freshman year at Bossier Parish (La.) CC and is now at Yavapai (Ariz.) JC, where he's leading the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (a wood-bat league) with a .416 batting average.
Tidwell is a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder who bats and throws lefthanded. He has played right field in the past, but is playing center field this year for the Roughriders and is taking to the new position well. His arm strength is below average, but he's a 70 runner and can cover a lot of ground. Despite his excellent speed, Tidwell's batting average isn't inflated by a bunch of bunt hits—in fact, bunting is still a part of his game that needs work. He has a knack for getting the bat on the ball and his tendency is to push balls to the left side of the infield, but he's been working on pulling balls and has recently launched a few home runs. Tidwell still has work to do to make the most of his abilities, but he's shown good work ethic and a desire to learn.
Kellin Deglan, c, R.E. Mountain SS, Langley, B.C.
Deglan came into the year as the No. 66 prospect in Baseball America's high school Top 100, but has steadily been climbing and could even go as high as the back half of the first round. Deglan has been playing well recently with the Canadian Junior National team, which swung through Florida in April playing games against major league organizations' players in extended spring training.
Deglan has gotten bigger and stronger every year and has worked hard to maintain his balance and footwork behind the plate. He is an advanced receiver and has a strong arm, consistently displaying pop times around 2.0 seconds. He doesn't handle a lot of velocity with Team Canada, but has caught velocity in the past, including handling one of this year's hardest throwers, Stetson Allie, when they were teammates at the East Coast Professional Showcase.
Scouts have some questions regarding Deglan's swing. He has long arms, which give it some length, and he sometimes swings around the ball and can be pitched inside. He also has a lot of strength, and when he pulls his hands inside the ball, he can use his arms for leverage, which gives him intriguing power potential. When you combine all those things, there's a lot to like from a lefthanded-hitting catcher with power potential, so it's easy to see why teams are getting excited. Deglan also has great makeup and leadership qualities that teams look for in catchers.
Kevin Munson, rhp, James Madison
The closer at James Madison, Munson is a righthander with a thick, strong frame at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. He has two average or better pitches that help him shut an offense down at the end of a game. His fastball consistently sits 90-93 mph and gets good sink and arm-side run thanks to good extension in his delivery. His second pitch is a power slider has been described from knee-buckling to an expletive. He gets hard, late depth to the pitch and it can stand alone at times. Occasionally, the break will get a little big on him, and the pitch will lack late bite. His arm is fresh because he was converted from being a high school catcher. He could be off the board before the end of the second round.
Jacob Petricka, rhp, Indiana State
The state of Indiana already had three top-two-rounds picks in Cowan High (Muncie) catcher Justin O'Conner and Ball State teammates Kolbrin Vitek and Perci Garner, and now a fourth has emerged. A righthander at Indiana State, Petricka has gotten stronger has the season has progressed, sitting at 92-94 mph, touching as high as 97 and maintaining that velocity deep into games. His breaking ball has improved as well, from a soft pitch to a power offering. In his most recent outing, he faced Missouri State lefty Mike Kickham (who should go in the first five rounds) and beat him 8-1, striking out 11 in a complete-game six-hitter. Petricka is now 7-4, 3.58 with 81 strikeouts in 75 innings.
Six-foot-4 and 180 pounds, Petricka has a loose arm. He began his college career at Iowa Western CC, sitting out 2007 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and transferring to Indiana State for the 2009 season. The Yankees made him a 34th-round pick as a draft-eligible sophomore a year ago, when he topped out at 94 mph.
Christopher Hawkins, ss/of, North Gwinnett HS, Suwanee, Ga.
Hawkins plays shortstop for North Gwinnett High and is projected to play third base for Tennessee, his college commitment. Most scouts don't see him staying in the dirt necessarily as a pro, but they do see tools that stand out even among Georgia's deep, talented class of high school athletes. Most project him as a center fielder thanks to his above-average speed; some scouts have seen some times that earn 70 grades, but Hawkins is a consistently above-average runner who should have the range to play center field. That has some scouts dreaming of Hawkins, a lefthanded hitter, as a poor man's Colby Rasmus, but he isn't as easy or fluid of an athlete as Rasmus was at the same stage.
Hawkins also has arm strength, and if his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame proves too big for him to stay in center, he is athletic enough to handle a corner. Hawkins doesn't have Rasmus' all-around hitting ability, but he has a track record of success and has shown the ability to catch up to good fastballs this spring. Moreover, he's performed well in front of crosscheckers all spring, leading North Gwinnett to a playoff berth while surpassing double digits in home runs. The consensus view appears to be that Hawkins won't last past the fourth round and is likely to go as high as the second.
Contributing: Jim Callis, Conor Glassey, John Manuel and Nathan Rode